Digital Marketing: Do It Yourself or Outsource To Others?

There is much to learn and master when it comes to digital marketing. If you’re a small- to medium-sized business owner, understanding and deriving value from your digital marketing efforts can be one of your biggest challenges.

There’s little doubt that business owners need to complement - or even replace - their traditional marketing tactics with strategic digital marketing: in its 2015 survey, the Content Marketing Institute found that 86% of B2B respondents are using content marketing. Businesses that don’t understand and adapt to this massive shift towards digital are likely to trail the competition.

Some effective digital marketing tactics include:
Social media
Content marketing (e.g., blogs, website copy, infographics, email campaigns)
Website design

Be Wise When You Advertise

Whatever industry you’re in, there’s a very strong probability that you’ll need the web to help you advertise. The more complex issue is determining the resources you should devote to the digital realm. Should you invest in hiring and training a digital marketing team who will learn and embrace the company culture, or outsource the effort to professionals who are comparatively inexpensive and flexible? Here are a few pros and cons to both approaches.

Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Pros

Business Knowledge. The great thing about having an in-house marketing team is their proximity to the business. Eighty-six percent of effective content marketers are led or managed by a dedicated team or person. Once trained, they can time tweets and be nimble with marketing tactics based on your strategy. By going the in-house route, you’ll have a team that understands the goals and objectives of your business and its culture.

Consistent Output. Have you been meaning to boost your content output, but simply don’t have the time to commit to writing a blog every two weeks, let alone tweet every day? Fifty-seven percent of B2C marketers and 69% of B2B marketers reported that lack of time was their greatest challenge in digital marketing, specifically in content production. With the DIY approach, you’ll have a team of digital marketers who - if properly prioritized and focused - can produce quality content at a consistent, appropriate rate.

DIY Cons

Expense. Staffing an in-house digital marketing team can be expensive, not to mention the challenge of finding and retaining great digital talent. For example, a team of three can run up to $150K a year or more, not including benefits, bonuses, and all the frictional costs of hiring. And that’s at an entry-level to intermediate skill level.

Training Delays. Seventy-nine percent of B2B digital marketers experience slow lead-up times with a newly-formulated team. Depending on the skill level of your new employees, there may be a considerable learning curve to get them to the point of what you would pay a savvy and experienced consultant. This invested time could radically affect the timeline and ROI of your digital marketing.

Outsource to Others (OTO) Pros

Cost Savings. Outsourcing your digital marketing efforts to an external marketing firm will save you as much as half the cost of hiring a full-time marketer. By outsourcing, you pay the costs of a contracted rate and that’s it - whether it’s on retainer, hourly, or on a per-project basis. The hassle factor is considerably lower than going in-house: no benefits, bonuses, vacation, and hiring costs to deal with.

Flexibility. You can also skip the learning curve required when forming your own in-house digital marketing team. By outsourcing your services to an external provider, you pay for experienced marketing professionals who are already highly knowledgeable about digital marketing and can jump in when you’re ready for them. They also bring a fresh, objective approach to your business, and are unlikely get bogged down by everyday office distractions.

OTO Cons

Lack of Visibility. Although third-party digital marketing providers may be experts, outsourcing means handing over your marketing power to someone who is at least initially unfamiliar with the company culture and mandate. This can be tricky, especially when it comes to a marketing tactic that is timely and continuous as social media.

Competing Priorities. Prioritizing also may be an issue, as likely you will not be the only client of your outsourced digital marketing agency. This may result in timing conflicts for your marketing goals if the third-party agency is working on several projects simultaneously.


Outsourcing doesn’t necessarily mean losing control of your marketing efforts. It’s a proven, cost-effective way to streamline your marketing, especially if the skills and talent you are looking for aren’t in-house, or even in the same city. With remote technology widely available, setting task-based schedules and assignments, and tracking and managing projects can be relatively seamless.

However, if you’re an established business with the resources to hire and train a new team, then it may be worth the investment in costs and time to get exactly what you want. If you’re still unsure, trying a bit of both will introduce you to the world of external agencies, and then you can assess your overall comfort level from there.

So, before you dive into writing posts or revamping your website, evaluate what works best for your business, budget and resources. And then take action.

Is outsourcing is the way to go for your business? Contact Redbird for a quote on digital marketing services.